Monday, December 23, 2019

Sharing the Joy from MHRI

Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager
Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications

Every year at our MHRI year-end parties, we’ve run a toy collection for the holidays. For the past few years, we’ve donated the bounty of gifts to Dr. Bear’s Closet at Children’s National Hospital, just around the corner from our researchers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to those at MHRI who donated to our toy drive this year. I know there are lots of asks for support in the last few months of the calendar year and to know that our associates take the time to go out, pick out a toy or book, and share it with those who are in the hospital is a great feeling to take into the next year. This year we had over 60 toys to share.

This year, a special thanks to Karen Vaughan and Amy Avergas for extending our drive to the Greater Baltimore Chapter Oncology Nursing Society.

Thank you all for your support and have a happy holiday season.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Happy New Year's from MHRI

As we pause and reflect on the past year, we'd like to thank YOU for making us your trusted partner in achieving good health. We'd also like to thank our associates, medical staff, volunteers, and community partners at MedStar Health Research Institute for your commitment and service to our patients.

Here’s to another healthy, prosperous, and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

MHRI...Step Right Up!

Last week, MHRI associates took some time out of their busy schedules to celebrate the successes of 2019 with their fellow associates. We hosted two parties with both celebrations bringing together leadership and associates to embrace our circus / carnival theme of “Step Right Up!”. 

This year we recognized excellence as we acknowledged our High Recruitment Studies that have reached their goals.  We also recognized our 2019 SPIRIT Award and KUDOS recipients. Associates played games, enjoyed freshly popped popcorn and had a great time in the photo booth. The events also featured our service award presentations and our wonderful raffle and associate gifts!

Thank you to all of our MHRI performers and ringleaders, who achieve great things through the year on a daily basis and help make a difference in the lives of our patients and the organization they represent.

In case you missed the fun, take a look!  Happy Holidays everyone!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Nursing Collaboration at Joint Education/Scientific Councils

Last week, the Georgetown-MedStar Joint Education and Scientific Councils met to kick off our joint strategic planning.  As part of building a world-class AHS (academic health system), it is important to align strategic priorities in education and research across the university and health system and that starts with joint academic strategic planning!

While we were meeting,these three nurse leaders were talking so I quickly grabbed a picture - they each represent a different aspect of leadership with Eileen as the Chief Nursing Officer at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Carol from the Georgetown nursing school and Institute of Ethics, and Joan as an executive leader at MHRI.  They each individually contribute so much to our MedStar-Georgetown community every day however by bringing them together like we did last week..........  watch out!

From left: Eileen Ferrell, MS, RN, Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer, MGUH
Carol Taylor, PhD, RN, Professor of Medicine and Nursing, GUMC, Senior Clinical Scholar, Kennedy Institute of Ethics
Joan Bardsley MBA, RN, CDE, FAADE, Assistant Vice President of Nursing and Research Integration, MHRI

Thursday, December 5, 2019

MedStar is Part of AAMC's CHARGE

We are proud to be one of the four recipients of the first-ever AAMC Health Equity Call for Research!

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) launched the Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence (CHARGE) to bring together investigators, clinicians, and community partners in order to make changes that address inequities in health and health care.

At the MedStar Health Research Institute, the team includes Derek DeLia, Jason Brown, and Daniel Wilhite. Their research, Health Equity Effects of Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act, 2014-2018, will seek to identify the impact of Medicaid expansion on healthcare access, healthcare satisfaction, and perceived discrimination among vulnerable populations.

This research will give our research team access to data from the AAMC Consumer Survey of Health Care Access to answer cutting-edge research questions to facilitate solutions to health and health care disparities.

Congratulations to the research team on this important work!

You can learn more about the work here.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Cherish the Gifts of Life!

Below is my monthly message for the December 2019 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I write this monthly message on a rainy day sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As I was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I was reading an article about the rapid change in shopping habits. According to the accounting firm Deloitte, roughly 55% of shoppers say they’ll be doing most of their shopping online this year, with 44% supplementing it with discount stores. Only 28% plan to do most of their shopping in department stores. The statistics support this trend: in 2018, Cyber Monday sales increased 23% and in-store Black Friday sales dropped almost 10% (as they have every year for the last several years). Amazon captured 60% of the online shopping in 2018 and over 20% of online shoppers did their shopping from their phone. I was wondering how much longer Macy’s would sponsor the Thanksgiving parade and if Amazon will step in to keep it going?
Luckily, my attention was quickly distracted when my phone started blowing up with Thanksgiving text messages from friends, family, and colleagues. The phone may become the primary vehicle for shopping, but right now (at least for me), it’s a wonderful way to easily stay in touch with the important people in our life. As I read and replied to the holiday text messages, exchanged stories and memories, my mind become flooded with how fortunate we are in healthcare for having a life enriched with caring, never-ending curiosity, occasional crying, and the everyday pursuit of curing. Who cares about holiday gifts when you have these gifts of life!

It is all too easy in life to focus on the negatives, to get stressed out with unwanted changes or to worry about future challenges. However, in that moment on Thanksgiving morning, I was able to put it into perspective and appreciate the important things in life that we have today. When I think back over the last year and ask myself why I am grateful, I don’t even remember last years’ gifts!

Thank you for all you do at MedStar Health and for enriching the lives of everyone we touch. Together, we advance health for our community. Have a great holiday season everyone!


P.S. Mark your calendars now for Monday, April 6, 2020, for the 2020 MedStar Health-Georgetown University Research Symposium! View the flyer here.

Read Focus at

Monday, November 25, 2019

How Can We Think Differently? Thoughts from the 2019 Innovation Forum

Ashlee Tidwell
Communications & Planning Specialist
Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications

This was my second time attending the Mi2 Forum and I couldn’t wait to see what THIS year had in store! The speakers were excellent and shared a lot of valuable information to those of us that yearn to “think differently.”

One of my favorite experiences of the day was the Albert Einstein illusion that was present on stage. My team sat in the front of the room, so my eyes couldn’t stop looking at it. I was fascinated because I couldn’t tell if the face was sticking out or going inward! It’s hard to explain so take a look at this video where they discuss the “hollow-face illusion” of Albert Einstein. 

Two of my favorite quotes of the day:
  • “Practice Mindfulness” 
  • “Fail Early, Fail Often, Fail Cheaply”

Deliya B. Wesley, PhD, MPH
Research Scientist, Health Equity

I thought there were a couple of really interesting insights provided by the speakers, especially in the afternoon lineup. I particularly enjoyed the talk on the next 10 Wikipedias, which made me think differently about framing my ideas for my research proposals- in essence, thinking not about what the best solution is for right now, but more forward thinking in terms of what the next iteration of what I’m proposing may look like given the current healthcare landscape. In that same vein, the speaker who talked in depth about why Russia beat the US to the moon and the importance of not losing sight of the sometimes simpler, less resource intensive but immediately effective approach.

Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager
Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications

Over the years, the Innovation Forum has frequently left me walking away with more questions than I started the day with. This isn’t your typical event, especially not a typical MedStar Health event, but it consistently remains true to the work of the MedStar Institute for Innovation and their charge to think differently.

Each of the presentations brought something different to the table. I was particlary intrigued by the NIH’s All of Us project. It’s a massive undertaking, one which will have the ability to provide a huge data set for future work. But it also raised really important questions around research in the era of big data: how are we sharing information? How are we protecting that information? How can we engage a broad audience in what, on it’s face, is a low effort clinical trial? What tools can we use for retention in a database study? Certainly food for thought!

If you are interested in learning more, the entire event was live-streamed and the 2019 videos will soon be available here. Video archives from the past ten years of Forums are also available, with more coming soon. There was also an active group on Twitter with the hashtag #MI2Forum.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Philanthropy, Powered by Gratitude

As we continue through the Power to Heal campaign at MedStar Health and we get closer to Thanksgiving, I wanted to share the impact of our associates giving has for our investigators.

Below are some of the recipients of the New Investigator ‐ Associate Giving Grant Fund sharing why this fund and the support of MHRI associates, is impactful to them. Most associates support this philanthropic endeavour to share their gratitude. Click on the images to view them larger.

Every dollar donated by associates from this campaign goes to fund New Investigators so they can collect pilot data that is crucial to launching their careers at MedStar Health. Join us in supporting our future and our future researchers by directing your gift of gratitude to the MEDSTAR HEALTH RESEARCH INSTITUTE when you visit


Friday, November 15, 2019

20 Years of International Collaboration and Friendship

Last week I had the honor of being part of Vien Tim Mach VietNam 30 year celebration. As the oldest Heart Hospital in Vietnam, they have made seminal contributions to the cardiac care of millions of people throughout the country. Approximately 20 years ago, I was so fortunate to be part of a small group of cardiologists to visit the hospital and share our knowledge and experience. Back then I spent several days with Dr Hoai Nguyen using echocardiography to assess patients with damaged heart valves and determne which patients needed an intervention. Below is a picture of us 20 years ago and another from last week in the same hospital. Over the weekend, the hospital hosted a scientific conference and recognized those that made contributions to its history. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

MHRI Board Member Recognized for Commitment to Public Health

Guest Blogger:
Angela D. Thomas, DrPH, MPH, MBA
Assistant Vice President, Healthcare Delivery Research
MedStar Health Research Institute

Recently, I had the pleasure of witnessing one of our esteemed MHRI Board members receive the “Promise of Health in Howard County Award”.  At the 2nd Annual “State of Health Care in Howard County” event hosted by Howard County General Hospital, Dr. Carlessia A. Hussein was honored for her dedication to improving the health of populations locally and nationally.  Steven Snelgrove, President of Howard County General Hospital and Elizabeth Rendon-Shermon, Chair of the Howard County General Board of Trustees presented Dr. Hussein with this notable award.

Though retired from her role as director of the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities in the Office of the Maryland Secretary of Health, Dr. Hussein’s passion for improving the health of communities and reducing disparities continues.  She remains active in the healthcare community through volunteerism on several Boards and committees, including MHRI’s Board of Directors. Dr. Hussein has also established the Carlessia Hussein Minority Scholarship fund where she awards scholarships to minority middle school boys making low grades and living in low income families in Howard County and Baltimore City.

Dr. Atul Grover, Executive Vice President of the Association of American Medical Colleges gave the keynote address entitled “Our Changing Health Care Culture”. It was inspiring to see how the legacy of Dr. Hussein’s work helped to lay the foundation for the future of healthcare. Several of Dr. Hussein’s distinguished friends, including Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, were also in attendance to celebrate with her.

Congratulations Dr. Carlessia Hussein!


Monday, November 4, 2019

Gratitude Does Matter

Below is my monthly message for the November 2019 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It happened again - I spent the last few days thinking about this monthly message only for it to change at the last minute. I knew I wanted to discuss gratitude and the power of giving. I was debating how best to translate the power of gratitude into words, but found myself stuck.

At first, my thought was to approach the message from a personal perspective by sharing the feeling I get when
volunteering for medical missions. Alternatively, I considered relying on ‘science’ by quoting this great article I recently read in Frontiers in Psychology which proves that gratitude changes our mood, reduces exhaustion, helps us connect to others and gives a wonderful sense of accomplishment. There was also this delightful video entitled ‘GratiTALK’ filmed at the last Research Symposium which speaks so well to why gratitude matters so much in healthcare.

However, when I sat down this morning to write this column, I opened my email and the direction immediately changed. The email below is from a colleague who is returning from medical leave and it sums everything I was trying to express so much better than I could ever do:

Good Morning,

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you for your support over the last week and a half. It was a spooky time for me and not because it was Halloween! I consider myself extremely fortunate and one of the things that makes me so fortunate is that I have colleagues with such big hearts.

With gratitude,

Gratitude does matter.

Once a year at MedStar Health, we ask our communities to share their gratitude with us. As part of that, we invite you to participate in our annual Power to Heal campaign. This campaign reinforces the importance of bringing our community together, building a culture of expressing and accepting gratitude, all while providing everyone the chance to positively impact the communities we serve. The ultimate goal of our Power to Heal Campaign is to encourage expressions of gratitude between associates.

At MHRI, I am proud that the gratitude of our associates and community has supported over 20 investigators through the New Investigator Associate Giving Grant Fund.  Every dollar donated by associates from this campaign goes to fund New Investigators so they can collect pilot data that is crucial to launching their careers at MedStar Health. You can learn more about the recipients of the fund from my recent blog post or in this issue of FOCUS below.

Join us in supporting our future and our future researchers by directing your gift of gratitude to the MEDSTAR HEALTH RESEARCH INSTITUTE when you visit

Thank you for your commitment to advancing health through research!


P.S. Mark your calendars now for Monday, April 6, 2020, for the 2020 MedStar Health-Georgetown University Research Symposium! View the flyer here.

Read Focus at